Patty in the News

WALLA WALLA -- U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was in town Monday, wearing her trademark tennies and sporting a listening ear.

And there was plenty to hear as Murray, D-Wash.,  and her assembled panel sat in a room packed with veterans and others at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 992.

Led by facilitator Doug Bayne, director of the Walla Walla Community College Foundation, panelists took turns explaining to the senator the issues they see in the universe of veterans.

Housing challenges, for example. Renee Rooker, of Walla Walla Housing Authority, told Murray there are nearly 150 homeless veterans in the area. While there are programs in place to help get those men and women into housing, actually getting that done is a problem. "There is a lack of funding for deposits, security and utility deposits, to get veterans into a permanent home."

Coupled with communication gaps between federal agencies that are supposed to help veterans and a retroactive 17 percent reduction in administrative fees -- that cut screening staff -- it all equals an inability to fully serve a vulnerable population, Rooker told Murray.

She gets it, Murray assured her audience. Her father served in World War II. His war-caused injuries affected every component of family life.

- Walla Walla Union-Bulletin